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Two researchers honored for biomedical work

May 8, 2018 By Natasha Kassulke

The Hartwell Foundation recently announced that two University of Wisconsin–Madison researchers are recipients of 2017 Hartwell Individual Biomedical Research Awards. The award recognizes exceptional scientists who are pursuing biomedical research to advance children’s health, and provides support for three years at $100,000 direct cost per year.

Photo: Robert Redfield

Robert Redfield

Photo: Vivek Balasubramaniam

Vivek Balasubramaniam

UW–Madison’s awardees are Robert Redfield, assistant professor of surgery, and Vivek Balasubramaniam, associate professor of pediatrics.

Redfield is a transplant surgeon who specializes in pancreatic, islet cell and multi-organ transplants as well as vascular access. His project was for “Genetically Engineered Porcine Islets for the Treatment of Type 1 Diabetes.”

Balasubramaniam’s research focuses on the pathogenesis, treatment and prevention of lung disease that is the result of premature birth. His project was for “Application of Cellular-Derived Therapies for the Regeneration of Lung Structure and Function.”

Twelve individuals representing 10 institutions received recognition as 2017 Hartwell Investigators. Each year The Hartwell Foundation invites a limited number of institutions in the United States to hold an internal open competition to nominate candidates from their faculty who are involved in early-stage, innovative and cutting-edge biomedical research that has not yet qualified for significant funding from outside sources. In the 2017 competition, 17 institutions were invited to participate. For the 13th consecutive year, UW–Madison was named to The Hartwell Foundation list of Top 10 Centers of Biomedical Research.

”To receive this award is a tremendous honor. It will serve as an essential catalyst to develop a cure for Juvenile Type 1 Diabetes,” says Redfield.

“I am honored to receive this award that will hopefully lead to a new treatment for the chronic lung disease that premature infants suffer from,” says Balasubramaniam.

In addition, for each funded nominee, the participating institution will receive a Hartwell Fellowship to fund one postdoctoral candidate in biomedical research who exemplifies the values of the foundation. The fellowships offer support for two years at $50,000 per year to individuals in the early stage of their career by enabling them to pursue further specialized research training as part of their professional development. The university designates the fellowship according to the foundation’s guidelines.

“We are very thankful to the Hartwell Foundation for recognizing Dr. Redfield and Dr. Balasubramaniam,”says Norman Drinkwater, interim vice chancellor for research. “Support of this type is critical to UW–Madison’s ability to remain at the cutting edge of biomedical research. We are excited about the potential of both projects to advance our shared goal of improving the health of children. We also greatly appreciate the honor of being one of only two institutions that received multiple Hartwell Foundation awards this year.

Tags: faculty, health